Below are the main themes that were identified by those in attendance at our all-church transition discussion on January 26. The small group discussions resulted in thoughtful and insightful contributions describing our identity, our strengths, and our needs and challenges at this point in our history. A visual representation of the main themes as “word clouds” was created with a software program used by Zoë Valette and is on display in the foyer. These results can be used to guide our work and to communicate our unique identity, our needs, and celebrate our strengths.

Our Identity: People’s Church Is…

  • Welcoming, Inclusive, LGBT, Accepting, Tolerant
  • Open to different views, Oasis
  • Caring Community, Supportive, Friendly, Compassionate
  • Liberal, Progressive, Unique from religious mainstream, but less so than before
  • Living out its values, Driven by shared principles and values
  • Successful and enduring, Resilient and persevering
  • Thought provoking, Inspiring, Compelling spiritual message/path
  • Way to live out your values, Moral guide
  • Exploring, Seekers, Personal Growth, Spiritual Journey
  • Committed, Lively, Vibrant, Active
  • Full of children, Multi-age
  • Democratic, White, middle-class
  • Thoughtful, respectful

Our Strengths:  We Are Strong and Accomplished at …

  • Self-governance, Democratic process, Shared leadership, Working together
  • Forming committees, Organizing ourselves, Accomplishing goals, Getting things done
  • Highly motivated leaders and volunteers, Raising money, Supporting one another
  • RE is strong and accomplished, RE program, teachers
  • Growth in youth group, 18-35, Owl, Coming of Age, YRUU
  • Inclusiveness of RE program, Developing children to explore their beliefs and values
  • Strong social justice, Community involvement, Raising social consciousness
  • Working with wider community, Not afraid to take a stand
  • Connection to national and international UU movement
  • Organization of welcoming community, Attracting outsiders
  • Inclusion of LGBT, Greeting, listening, welcoming newcomers,
  • Caring for each other, discovering each other
  • Supporting families, having Elders who model living their values
  • Embracing differences, celebrating diversity
  • Diversity of religious thought, Unique religious offering,
  • Specialty/discussion groups, Structure to find your niche
  • Nurturing freedom of conscience, Sharing spiritual journeys
  • Supporting arts and music, creativity, art wall
  • Long history, Well established, Survival
  • Flexibility, adaptability, optimism, discernment
  • Great facility, increased accessibility, hosting

Our Needs and Challenges:  We Have Needs and Challenges in the Areas of…

  • Balancing short-term and long-term needs and focus, Managing growth, Transition from pastoral to program church, Managing expectations, Increasing financial support, Reducing debt, Building maintenance and upgrades, Parking, Aesthetic additions
  • Expanding leadership, Leadership development, Increase ownership among more members, Expand access to leadership, Activate more members of the church community, Avoid over commitment, Avoid overuse of volunteers
  • Improving communication, Incorporate new technology, AV on path to improvement
  • Community building, Between younger (RE) and older members, Bridging newer and longer members, Intentional inter-age activity, Small group opportunities to know each other, Involve young adults in all of church life, Integrating new members, Recognizing older members, Identifying and welcoming visitors, Getting people to stay and join.
  • Keep commitment to social justice and international partnerships, Having institutional voice in the community, Communicating our faith tradition to others
  • Building a diverse congregation, Welcoming people of color, broadening our appeal, Learn to accept diversity, not just pay lip service, Avoid exclusivity (comfortable within our own culture)
  • Accessible Adult RE offerings, RE teacher recruitment

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